Irregular and semi-regular dispatches from our writers.
In this essay I would like to address a certain myth: great art is said to be timeless and universal, transcending the contingent circumstances of its own genesis and speaking to men across the ages. In other words, the fruits of genius are ahistorical.
I passed by Star Wars Cover Girl mascara and Star Wars Duracell batteries. “Power your galaxy,” it ordered. My galaxy is fine, Duracell. On television, Star Wars themes champion Jeeps powering through the wilderness and patrons sinking their teeth into Subway subs.
The attacks in Paris come at the end of the second week of diplomatic talks in Vienna regarding the Syrian Civil War, a war that has, in the last five years, displaced 10.9 million of the country's 23 million inhabitants.
"And I remember in college, a lot of even experimental stuff I was excited by, I was excited by because I found reproduced in the book certain feelings or ways of thinking or perceptions that I had had, and the relief of knowing that I wasn’t the only one, you know? Who felt this way. Who had, you know, worried that perhaps the reverse of paranoia was true: that nothing was connected to anything else."
James Tate died this summer, and sitting in this little spot on the Amtrak reading his poetry reminded me of the way that this kind of raw human life can be injected into poetry. When you read Tate’s books of poetry you feel like you’ve met a million people.